Gilas Pilipinas fightback falls short in tune-up game vs Estonia

Gilas Pilipinas fell to Estonia, 81-71, in its first tuneup game for the 2023 FIBA World Cup on Wednesday, June 28 (Manila time) at the Kalev Sports Hall in Tallinn, Estonia.

In their first competitive game since the start of their World Cup preparations, the Nationals displayed great character, battling back from a 22-point deficit in the first half before losing steam in the final minutes, allowing the hosts to pull-off a hard-earned victory.

Dwight Ramos led Gilas with 16 points, while Thirdy Ravena and Justin Brownlee contributed nine and eight points, respectively, for the Filipinos, who were without Scottie Thompson and AJ Edu due to back and ankle injuries, respectively.

Carlos Jurgens’ 20 points served as the biggest obstacle for Gilas, while Mkk Jurkatamm and Markus Ilver contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Gilas displayed tentativeness in first quarter after Estonia established a commanding 29-14 lead and extended it to a maximum of 22 points, 41-19, early in the second quarter.

The Filipinos eventually awoke with a 16-8 run that reduced the deficit to a manageable 14-point deficit at halftime.

After an 8-1 start in the third canto, led by Brownlee, the Nationals continued their assault and eventually closed the gap to single digits, 50-43.

Gilas persevered and twice got to within three points, the last being 63-66 after two June Mar Fajardo free throws early in the fourth quarter. The Nationals had numerous opportunities to inch closer or even level the game, but they were unable to overcome the three-point barrier Estonia had established.

A decisive 5-0 run by Estonia proved to be the dagger in the heart of the Filipinos, as Gilas were unable to close the gap in the final minutes.

The scores:

Estonia 81 – Jurgens 20, M. Jurkatamm 14, Ilver 12, Riismaa 10, Kirsipuu 8, Aav 5, Pehka 5, T. Jurkatamm 3, Kasemets 2, Carey 2, Suurorg 0.

Philippines 71 – Ramos 16, T. Ravena 9, Brownlee 8, Perez 7, K. Ravena 6, Abando 5, Erram 5, Aguilar 5, Fajardo 5, Malonzo 3, Newsome 2.

Quarterscores: 29-14, 49-35, 64-59, 81-71.

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